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Undocumented people can purchase affordable health insurance with new Colorado program

Undocumented immigrants can purchase affordable healthcare insurance with new program
Undocumented immigrants can purchase affordable healthcare insurance with new program 02:05

A new health insurance program looks to help undocumented people in Colorado get the help they need.

In Colorado, undocumented residents can purchase affordable health care insurance through the state's individual marketplace. More than 6,000 people have already enrolled in the pilot program, according to Servicios de La Raza.

OmniSalud builds partnerships with community organizations like Servicios de La Raza to help enroll undocumented residents into the program.

OmniSalud is making it easier for undocumented residents to get routine health care and medications at a lower cost. It is health care made for those undocumented and on a DACA status.

Ever Hernandez is a CMS coordinator for Servicios de la Raza and not only did he help his parents apply for coverage, but he has also been assisting other people with the application process.

"My own parents were the ones that could take advantage of this, and it was phenomenal because I went through my whole life with my parents getting coverage for me, but I never saw the roles reversed," said Hernandez.

He says often times those undocumented can be afraid to enroll into these programs and the lack of education does not help the situation. OmniSalud has made it clear they will not ask for applicants for their immigration status.

To qualify residents are only asked to provide name, income, household size, and address. The information clients are asked to provide is only used to determine one's eligibility for financial help.

"We are not asking for much of a requirement when it comes to OmniSalud just because we understand the intimidation and the stigma of clients thinking they can't apply for these things due to their status," said Hernandez.

Prior to this pilot program, undocumented residents were able to purchase insurance through the state-run marketplace, but according to Kevin Patterson, the CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, some were hesitant because that sends some data to the federal government.

"I think people really had a huge fear of coming through our program because they didn't want to negatively impact their citizenship application and they just said we will just wait until we have to go to the emergency room," said Patterson.

However, this program insists on protecting data of those undocumented through a new secure online platform. When residents apply they'll start at the Connect for Health Colorado's website. If they choose to share their information with only Colorado Connect, they will then be directed to create an account with Colorado Connect on a different application and enrollment site. When they choose to do that, their information is stored separately from Connect for Health Colorado and is not shared with any federal partners, according to their website. Colorado Connect assembles with health-industry-standard security protocols, which are built to protect the privacy and personal information of those enrolling.

State law does require health insurance companies to offer lower premiums for Colorado Option plans every year.

Residents will likely qualify for the "SilverEnhanced Savings" if their income is less than $20,385 for a single person or less than $41,625 for a family of four.

The state's health care marketplace leader says this program will save all Coloradans money by offering more preventive care options and thereby controlling the cost of premiums for all.

Right now they have a little less than 3,000 spots for the SilverEnhanced Savings plan. Enrollment ends January 15. 

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